The Teachers.Net Gazette is a collaborative project
published by the Teachers.Net community
Kathleen Alape Carpenter
Editor in Chief
Cover Story by LaVerne Hamlin
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Contributors this month: Dr. Marvin Marshall; Cheryl Sigmon; Barbara & Sue Gruber; Marjan Glavac; Dr. Rob Reilly; Barb S. HS/MI; Ron Victoria; Brian Hill; Leah Davies; Hal Portner; Tim Newlin; Barb Gilman; James Wayne; P.R. Guruprasad; Todd Nelson; Addies Gaines; Pat Hensley; Alan Haskvitz; Joy Jones; and YENDOR.
Regular Feature in the Gazette
March 1, 2008
When Erin/IN posed the following question on the Student Teachers Chatboard, ideas poured forth. Ideas we believe worthy of sharing...
"Hello! I teach full day kindergarten and I will soon have my first student teacher. I was wondering from you, student teachers, what did your supervising teachers do that you really liked?"
Posted by New Kindergarten Teacher:
I student taught with a kindergarten teacher, and ended up being hired for the kindergarten room next door. I took over my "new" class this week. Yay!
My CT was AMAZING! She did two things that really helped me. She prodded me to go ahead and take over the whole class sooner than the required "first day of the third week of student teaching." We knew I was going to be observed on that "first day of the third week" (which is the day my university mandated that student teachers be in 100% control of their class). She wanted me to be comfortable before the professor came to visit.
It was like the poem by Appolonaire "Come to the edge, he said - I can't, I'm scared. Come to the edge, he said - I can't, I'll fall - Come to the edge - and I did, and he pushed me... and I flew." I wasn't scared, but that little push of encouragement was exactly what I needed to get rid of my cold feet.
Once I took over, it was smooth sailing. The stress of the transition period,
the anticipation, the dragging of time until the fateful first day of taking over...all that disappeared as soon as she pushed me, and I flew!
Transition is the stressful part of student teaching.... when asked by others, as I frequently was, I described it like this: "I'm not so much scared, anxious, excited, whatever. It's just change - I wish I could just snap my fingers and be DOING it already, rather than having to go through the motions of the transition from observer to teacher/from student teacher to PAID teacher."
It's the transitioning that makes student teaching tough. Give your ST a push, to help her shake her cold feet. She'll be glad you did:)
Once she's into it - let her have complete and total free reign. Don't criticize; she'll know when she does something that doesn't fly. She'll be doing it on her own in the fall - so let her get used to it now. If you always bail her out, constantly advise, or hold her hand through it all, etc., you will be doing her a disservice. She needs to know what it will REALLY be like when she's a teacher.
Student teaching is a chance to practice and to learn, she won't be perfect, she will slip up and do things differently than you would - but she'll know when a lesson flops. She'll know when something doesn't go right. Let her make mistakes. Be there to bail her out, to answer questions, to be supportive. Act as a sounding board, but don't tell her what to do. Don't require constant reporting. Don't micromanage. Let her soar! She'll do great, she'll learn so much from you - and you from her:) Thanks for caring enough to ask for input; she's lucky to have you as a CT. :)
Posted by student teacher in GA
My cooperating teacher did not do anything for me when I finished my student teaching in her class. She gave me all 4's on my evaluations, which is the highest you can get; yet she did not let me know that I did a good job. Give as much advice as you can to your student teacher, she/he will appreciate any words of wisdom from a veteran teacher. Just be available to help her/him when they need you. Show appreciation for a job well done.
Posted by aa
I think that she is very lucky to have you as a CT just for asking how you could make her/his experience more fulfilling. Some CT's only have ST's so that they can take off to the staff room or to get out of teaching.
I know that my first experience was very stressful as I was at a high needs school. On my second day of placement, my teacher said, "Well they are all yours now," and I was teaching 100% from then on. It was really hard for me because I had
never taught before and wasn't aware of the extreme behaviour issues that I would be dealing with. Although I agree with the other ST's opinion, in my experience, I would have liked a little more guidance and time to build my confidence before going all out at 100%.
These are some of my personal recommendations:
Allow her/him to participate in school events or teams.
Give opportunities for them to interact with principal, vp and other staff members.
Try not to micro-manage or talk condescendingly towards them.
Share ALL your knowledge and provide ALOT of feedback and constructive criticism so that we can grow and learn as much as possible
Posted by CO-Op:
One that SLOWLY lets me take over the room and supports me while understanding the stress I am under.
Posted by Carolyn:
A cooperating teacher needs to be the perfect role model of an effective teacher: well-organized classroom, management plans in place and being demonstrated/used, lesson plans that are clearly written and appropriate, cheerful, compassionate, and obviously supportive in the classroom to all students and visitors. Why do I say this? Because we ARE what we TEACH.
I had two wonderful CTs -- for very different reasons. One was highly organized and efficient, with a fantastic management system in place. The other got along very well with students. I borrowed these traits from both.
If a CT is all the above, and models it to the ST, then the ST will go away much more educated and effective than ever imagined.
Posted by bv
YAAAHHHHOOOOOO!!!! A student teacher is LEARNING from a Co-Op, why shouldn't this be expected. Student teachers are not there to givethe teacher an extended coffee break--I love, love, love yourexpectations! This is the chance for a GREAT teacher to passon their acquired knowledge and help to create another GREAT teacher.
Posted by WSU Student:
I am student teaching with two different cooperating teachers. One is ok, and the other is GREAT! The one who is great does a really good job at getting to know me personally. She helps me with any questions I have and she is always sharing tips about the class, the students, or the teaching profession in general. She also introduced me to other teachers and staff members in the building at the beginning of the year and she really makes me feel comfortable in the classroom.
I'm not sure what type of program your student teacher is in, but I had to lead teach for an entire week during my observation phase. Anyway, during that week, my cooperating teacher told me to plan lessons, grade, the whole deal. She wanted to make the experience as real as possible for me. It was a great opportunity.
I know that in my program I have heard a lot of horror stories about cooperating teachers. Some are great...some not so much. Student teachers are typically nervous already when it comes to going into a new school. The main thing we want (at least in my opinion) is to feel comfortable... So just share as much as you can with your student teacher and I am sure they will appreciate it.
Posted by hmm:
Don't see her as a ticket out of the classroom, or a way to get a break. Don't just throw her in. Your student teacher will get overwhelmed and not want to be a teacher. I say ease her in slowly
Posted by Lynn:
I received a Bachelor's in Liberal Studies (the major for teachers.) I learned what to teach (subject-wise). I then obtained my credential and learned how to write lengthy lesson plans (that I now never use.)
The best training I ever obtained, however, was when I was student teaching. This was where I actually learned to teach. The master teachers taught me rules and procedures and how to implement them, how to transition successfully and how
to communicate with parents.
The information provided was priceless. My best master teachers were positive and able to provide me with ways to best improve my teaching in a non-threatening or critical manner.
I chose to student teach for a year while I obtained my credential. This allowed me to be in four different grades with as many master teachers.
One thing I appreciated from two of them was "Our Journal." It was a simple composition book where my master teacher first wrote an introductory message giving me the basics of her class, and then welcomed me.
Anytime I had a question I would jot it down in the book and she would provide a wonderful, useful answer. It was a great resource for me. She would also use the book to write comments when she observed a lesson I taught.
As said before, you sound like a great teacher to be so thoughtful towards your new student teacher.
Please remember that she is still learning and she can definitely benefit from your expertise. When you wish to provide guidance, please first begin with something positive you observed from her. No doubt she will be nervous and self-doubting. It's amazing what a positive comment can do for someone!
"Sara, I loved the way you grabbed the students' attention by describing the new story they will read. I could see that many of the students were very interested! It would be even better if next time you used the quiet signal to ensure that all students were listening to the directions to come to the carpet."